Simple Art of Cooking: Local Farm Stand Fare

While the calendar confirms the official end of summer has passed, corn and tomatoes are still high on my list of food priorities. Perhaps I just can’t let go of two ingredients that have no equal at any other time of the year. And there’s no reason to let go just yet. They are still very much available at local farm stands and the diversity of ways in which local corn and tomatoes can be employed is invaluable.

If the allure of eating corn on the cob has dimmed, here are two recipes that call for corn kernels stripped from the cob. Try a timely corn and potato chowder incorporating scallions, celery and fresh herbs. Or, if you’re in the mood for a little ethnic, strip the kernels for a Mexican sauté with ripe tomatoes and zucchini for a tasty side dish.

Corn and tomatoes are culinary treasures to help us hold on to summer a bit longer.

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Corn and Potato Chowder  

Chowders are memory driven. They have also been simplified from the rich, cream and bacon laden chowders of the past. Today vegetables and briefly- cooked corn kernels are the stars.

serves 4-5

3 ears fresh corn, shucked
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 bunch scallions rinsed, trimmed and thinly sliced 2 inner ribs celery, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 medium boiling or Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into

1/4” dice
1 quart homemade or low-sodium canned chicken

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
2 to 3 tablespoons freshly chopped flat-leaf Italian


1. Hold the clean ear of corn on its base and, using a sharp knife, strip the kernels into a bowl.

2. Heat oil in a large saucepan and sauté the scallions until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add celery and potato and sauté gently for 3-4 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Add broth, thyme and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Adjust heat to a simmer and cook at a lazy surface boil for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Can be prepared ahead to this point. Discard the bay leaf.

3. When ready to serve, return the chowder to edge of a boil. Adjust to a gently simmer, add the corn kernels, salt and pepper to taste and cayenne if using. Cook 2 to 3 minutes longer, add the parsley stirring to distribute the ingredients and serve hot.

Zucchini, Tomato and Corn, Mexican Style 

Combine the best of farm stand fresh, sun-ripened tomatoes, small zucchini and the sweetest corn for this Mexican- inspired recipe.

serves 4

1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 narrow zucchini, scrubbed and sliced thin

2 to 3 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced

1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

3 ears fresh corn kernels, cut from the cob

1. In a large non-stick skillet, heat the oil and put in the onion and garlic. Sauté over medium heat, stirring for 3 to 4 minutes, until onion is translucent.

2. Add zucchini and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes longer. Add tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper. Cover pan and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes longer. Add corn, kernels, cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Taste to adjust seasoning as necessary. Can be prepared ahead and reheated before serving.

Visit Silvia’s website at to read her blogs and more recipes. 

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